MONTREAL -- Quebec's police ethics committee has formally dismissed an ex-Montreal police officer for having stolen an iPhone during a student protest - even though the officer left the force six years ago.

In a decision rendered last week and made public Thursday, the committee found that Amir El Alfy's theft of an iPhone during a protest in Montreal on March 19, 2012, during the height of the student uprising in Quebec - a criminal act to which he pleaded guilty - was sufficient grounds for his dismissal.

But as the committee noted in its ruling, the dismissal is essentially a formality; El Alfy left the force for another job in 2014.

Investigators discovered that El Alfy had stolen the phone using surveillance that had been put in place during a separate investigation into the officer. The wiretaps caught him confessing to stealing the phone while disparaging student protesters in a conversation a couple of weeks after the protest.

Police arrested El Alfy on May 1, 2012, and seized the phone, as well as some drugs.

While El Alfy had also pleaded guilty in 2015 to a charge of trafficking drugs, he was subsequently granted an absolute discharge after a judge ruled the drugs were for his personal use and not hard drugs.

The ethics committee's ruling specifies that his dismissal is a direct result of the theft of the iPhone during the protest, a crime committed while El Alfy was on duty.